That night, I dreamt about my past. About that one snake I killed. Perhaps if I had snapped at it and taught it fear, would I have made the same choice? “…this is stupid.” That train of thought is pointless now. Humans live the one life they’ve been given, unable to do it all over again. And each day, victory and defeat is being determined. There will be days where you win just as there are days where you lose.
It just happened to be the latter day yesterday. The number of times I’ve lost would be in the three digits by now. Even if we’re just talking about Ayanokouji, yesterday wouldn’t be my first loss. But what makes this so different? Early in the morning at 8, I stepped outside with the intent of heading to school. Although today’s the first day of our winter holidays, the school is still perfectly open for the sake of club activities. Normally, the rules state that wearing a uniform is mandatory when entering the school building but there’s no need for me to abide anymore.
Morning practice for the clubs will start around 7 o’clock. And because Keyaki Mall will only open at 10 o’clock, I should pretty much be the only student heading towards school. “…achoo.” In the middle of the road leading up to the school, a lone student stood while trembling from the cold. I ignored her and kept going but when I passed by her, she spoke to me. “You finally came.”
I heard her out and kept walking. “Hey, hold it right there.” She panickedly ran after me and grabbed my shoulder. “Huh? What the hell are you doing? Don’t go around casually touching me.”
“I don’t want to touch you either. You gave me your phone, didn’t you? I just came here to give it back.” Saying that, red-nosed Ibuki thrust the phone towards me.
“You could’ve done it some other time. How long have you been waiting?”
“I don’t know……?” Pretending not to know means she must’ve been waiting for some time now. Why is she so fussy when it comes to futile things like this? I didn’t take it. I tried to give Ibuki the slip but this time she grabbed my arm. “Are you really dropping out?”
“Aren’t you just giving me back my phone?” Ibuki angrily glared at me when I gave that retort. “Remember how you fought with Ishizaki, Albert and the others after enrolling? You said the strongest one is determined by who wins in the end, no matter how many times they’ve lost before. And it played out just like that against Albert and the others.”
“Are you really going to put an end to this after losing once to Ayanokouji?”
“I misread and ended up sealing my fate. Besides, I couldn’t care less now.”
“What? That’s really lame.” It doesn’t matter anymore. To think he’d make me feel this way. What a guy. “Maybe.” That’s why I indifferently responded to Ibuki’s question. “Don’t ‘maybe’ me.”
Ibuki refused to let go of my arm. “You wanted me to drop out, no? If so, isn’t this just perfect?”
“I cooperated because you said you’d get us all to Class A. And yet this is how it’s going to end?” I had intended on taking my time but Ibuki really made herself at home waiting for me. Looks like she still hasn’t said her piece because she’s still going on and on.
“I tolerated your domineering attitude and actions so far because I believed we shared the same goal. The other day, even when you didn’t give us an explanation regarding the penalty for Class C, no one complained. Because they all believed that in the end, we’d rise to Class A. But you’re just going to drop out here? That’s way too lame.” She stopped to take a breath, and then added. “Is there anything more pathetic than this?”
“How long do you intend to keep interpreting this in your favor, Ibuki?” I stopped walking. I’d rather not do anything unnecessary because my whole body’s hurting. “I did tell you small fry this, that if you follow me I’d take you up to Class A. But that’s just me offering you the carrot after the stick. You know about my contract with Class A, don’t you? I had no intention of giving it to you guys.”
“So you’re saying the plan was for you to go to Class A alone?”
“That’s the idea, yeah. There’s no way I’d seriously look after my classmates, is there?”
Surely even Ibuki will be convinced if I say this. “That’s enough, no? Later.”
“800 million points.”
“…..huh?’.”After you handed me your phone yesterday, I seriously contemplated whether or not I should take a look at your points. I thought it wouldn’t matter either way so I took a look”. She switched my phone on and pointed the screen at me.
It’s the trend in the points over the course of three years that I had drawn up. “If it’s only for one person’s sake, 20 million points would’ve been enough. But what’s with this strategy? 800 million is the number of points necessary for all of Class C to rise to Class A, isn’t it? Well, I don’t think it’s possible to save up that much though.”
“Stop dreaming. I was just fooling around with that memo.” I forcibly took my phone from Ibuki. “Hiyori and Kaneda will take the lead from now on. It’s still possible as long as Ayanokouji doesn’t make a move.”
“That’s not my point here.” That damn Ibuki. Not a single private point’s been transferred. It’s completely untouched. How troublesome. “What do you want me to say?”
“If you’re going to drop out, then fight me.” Again, what a crazy proposal to make. Idiots are easy to use but they run out of control occasionally.
“There’s no way you can move your body properly, not with the injuries from yesterday and today’s cold.” I noticed she couldn’t exert much strength in the arm she’s using to grab my sleeve. I forcibly peeled that arm off my sleeve and started walking off. But the very next moment, I was beaten up. I fell onto the stone pavement. “…it hurts. I can’t even fall safely.” That bastard Ayanokouji. He’s thoroughly destroyed my body.
“Ahh—this is refreshing. If you’re going to quit, then quit already.” Ibuki walked back towards the dorm. Just how long has she been waiting here.
“Sakagami, I’ve got something to say. I told you about it yesterday.” After coming to school alone, I went to my homeroom teacher. I had made an appointment in advance from the dorm’s landline. The reason I delayed it by a day is because it would be far too troublesome to drop out right after that. It’s likelier to become a problem considering what I did to the surveillance camera. Even more so if the former student council president is aware of it. I plan on cutting myself free.
“I understand. I’d rather not stand and talk here. Please accompany me to the counseling room.”
“But before we do that, there’s a problem.”
“Please come out.” Sakagami then spoke towards the staff room and called the students out.